In 2017, I watched this music video and immediately bought roller skates on eBay. Since then, I have been fascinated by the ability of roller skaters to do as much on quads as ice skaters can do on a blade. When COVID-19 shut everything down, the need for more safe outdoor activities increased, causing people to turn to what was once one of the world's favorite pastimes again. Roller skate factories are still scrambling to catch up. Some people have been waiting for upwards of 9 months just to receive a fresh pair of Moxi Roller Skates in the mail (I'm on month 3 myself). Many people called it a trend, dismissing the rich history roller skating has in the US, Black Culture, and other parts of the world. The ultimate goal and inspiration for this project is to bring new skaters up to speed and to keep the momentum that roller skating presently has due to the pandemic. I wrote this book to help cultivate a lifelong interest in roller skating as—not only a trend or kid’s party activity—but a movement!
HELP! I ACCIDENTALLY WROTE A BOOK
Okay, it wasn't really accidental, but I hadn't planned on writing this myself. I thought I was going to take bits and pieces of articles and mash them together into a design.
Turns out, that wasn't going to work. Instead, I spent a good chunk of the semester researching and writing this—I mean it's not Infinite Jest, this is not a heavy or long read—but ultimately writing my own little blurbs on the subjects I wanted to cover helped with the overall flow of information. Each page was structured specifically for the bit of information I had written for it, and if I needed to add anything or subtract anything, I could without disrupting the integrity of someone else's writing. Definitely a perk!
The desired "vibe" for this book was "zine meets coffee table book." I love the Day-Glo colors that risographs achieve and I wanted to try to emulate that look digitally. I kept the limited color scheme as another nod to zine printing.
Thinking about it in terms of a zine even though it had become clear that this was going to be a long(ish) book also allowed me to experiment with different structures, keep but break the grid, play with type, have fun with imperfection, and work in mostly duotone.
I had really been wanting to experiment with variable typefaces, so after playing around with a few I settled on Obviously by OH no Type Co. The entire book uses this font family in different weights, widths, sizes, etc. The cover type and table of contents oscillate between these variations in an attempt to recreate the weaving movements of a big group of roller skaters.
SECTION 01: THE MISSING RINK
The first section of the book (which has the title I am most proud of) is about the early history of roller skating, from the failed inline skates that could only go in a straight line to the quad skate, which is what the book primarily focuses on.
COLLAGED STYLE/COLOR CHOICES
Throughout the book, I used a small but cohesive variety of image treatments: saturated pinks, duotones, collage, black and white, and halftone patterns. Allowing the large type to interact with the images in a fun way was really important to me to keep this dynamic and interesting, particularly for the eight different chapters/sections. Using collaged images allowed for more flexibility as well. Since I did write this myself, this came in handy for pages that had less copy but needed a bit more visual interest/balance.
While it seems obvious and cliche to use pinks for a book that emphasizes a female-dominated sport and badassery, the color was not chosen as a reflection of femininity. Pink is loud and commanding, especially against black. Roller skating is a commanding and often gaudy activity. You always notice someone on roller skates.